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Apr 24, 2016

What should you do before “kicking it” into high gear?

Horsepower, torque, straight-line acceleration, decreasing radius, double apex, hot-lapping, heel-toe, marbles, filling the mirrors—these are all words that resonate with a gearhead on track day.

Track day is an event when everyday drivers can take their cars to a track and drive them to the limit without fear of meeting local law enforcement. But there are a lot of things you should contemplate first when preparing for a driving day at the track:

Do I have the correct gear for the event?

    Do I need a roll bar or racing harness?
  • Do I need a racing suit?
  • Is the safety rating on my helmet correct?

Is my vehicle ready to go?

  • Did I check all the fluids?
  • Did I check the brakes and tires?
  • Does my insurance cover me if I get into an accident on the track?

This last question is often overlooked in the excitement of getting on the track. And the answer depends on the auto insurance carrier. Amateur motorsports, high-performance driving, autocross, rallies and track days are clearly excluded from a traditional auto insurance policy.

And what’s more, traditional policy language is clear and concise.

Coverage isn’t provided while you’re operating your vehicle on a racetrack or test track, or participating in, receiving driving instruction with respect to practicing or preparing for any competition, contest or timed event.

CHECK YOUR COVERAGE

Instead, there are a handful of insurance companies to consider that do provide ontrack coverage. But it’s important to fully understand what you’re purchasing:

What’s being covered?

  • Do I have coverage for liability?
  • What about physical damage?
  • Is agreed value included?
  • What are my available deductible options?
  • What’s excluded from my coverage?

Who’s covered?

  • Is there one named insured?
  • How about a second driver?
  • What about the instructor?

What about claims?

  • How are claims adjusted, and by whom?
  • Is there an in-house adjustor or a thirdparty adjusting company?

The cost of these policies can vary by carrier, driver experience, claims history, the value of the vehicles and the event itself. Many of the car clubs that sponsor these track days have established relationships with carriers that provide some type of on-track coverage.

Consider also individual disability coverage in the event of an accident that results in significant injury. This is especially important if you’re the high earner in your household.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Remember, racetracks carry liability insurance for participants, spectators and staff. They may also carry accident insurance.

But this coverage may be limited. Generally, upon entering the paddock area, drivers have to sign a waiver of liability for the track and the sponsors. Under this agreement, “intentional” acts are not covered. Also, these policies don’t provide coverage for damage to automobiles participating in events, nor do they cover the repair/replacement of structures damaged in the event of an accident.

For all these reasons, we strongly suggest that you review your policy. Ask your broker if you have questions pertaining to on-track coverage prior to the event. Then, decide whether your policy is the one you want.

Insurance services provided through NFP Property & Casualty Services, Inc., doing business in California as NFP Property & Casualty Insurance Services, Inc., License # 0F15715.

This article was originally published in the April/May 2016 issue of Worth.

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